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Covid reinfection cases are negligible right now, but expert panel is examining: Vardhan

The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan interacting with social media users during Sunday Samvaad-3, in New Delhi  (ANI)Premium
The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan interacting with social media users during Sunday Samvaad-3, in New Delhi (ANI)

  • Vardhan's remarks come amid suspected cases of Covid-19 reinfection being reported from abroad and from Indian states like Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab and Maharashtra
  • The union minister also adds that India is far from achieving herd immunity for Covid-19

As reports of coronavirus reinfection in the country emerge, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today said that such cases are under investigation.

The Union minister was interacting with people on social media during the third episode of Sunday Samvaad, and added that cases of people contracting the deadly virus for the second time after being cured were negligible at the moment and were being studied by an expert panel of Indian Council of Medical Research.

"ICMR is also actively investigating and researching reports of reinfection and although the number of reinfection cases is negligible at this moment, the government is fully seized of the importance of the matter," Vardhan said in during his virtual interaction.

Vardhan's remarks come amid suspected cases of Covid-19 reinfection being reported from abroad and from Indian states like Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab and Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry is considering gathering data of such cases to ascertain their veracity, news agency PTI had earlier reported while citing sources.

They said it needs to be confirmed whether these cases are indeed distinct second infection and not just lingering effects of the first one.

This can be done only by genetic sequence analysis to see if it is the same strain of the virus which had caused the first infection or a different one.

For gathering data on suspected cases of COVID-19 reinfection, the health ministry may also issue guidelines and a format based on which database of all such cases is to be maintained by the State Surveillance Units (SSUs) and District Surveillance Units (DSUs), sources said, as per PTI.

Moreover, the union minister also added that India is far from achieving herd immunity for Covid-19.

“The soon to be released second sero survey indications are that we are far from having achieved any kind of herd immunity which necessitates that all of us should continue following covid-19 appropriate behaviour," said Harsh Vardhan. The first sero survey of May 2020 revealed that the nationwide prevalence of novel coronavirus infection was only 0.73%.

On the emerging evidence that the disease not only impacts the lungs but also other organ systems, especially cardiovascular and renal, the health minister said that union health ministry has already set up committees of experts to look into these facets of covid-19.

“The India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is also studying this subject," he said.

India on Sunday reported more than 88,000 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the country's total tally to almost 60 lakh since the outbreak, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data.

However, with 92,043 new virus-related recoveries since Saturday.

Apart from this, 1,124 deaths were also recorded in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number of deaths recorded since the pandemic began past 93,000.

With inputs from agencies

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